National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to celebrate the impact of our mentors and their dedication to defending the potential of their Littles. BBBSCI is proud to stand together with the Bigs, parents, partners, and donors who make our mission possible. Today, and every day, we recognize and thank those who empower our Littles’ to achieve their biggest possible futures.
Each year, Big Brothers Big Sisters honors outstanding volunteers – a Big Brother of the Year and a Big Sister of the Year. These mentors are nominated for their dedicated commitment to defending the potential of their Little and going above and beyond to promote the life-changing mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters.
This year, we are proud to recognize Michael Damiano as our 2019 Big Brother of the Year. The BBBS State Association of Indiana has also named Michael the Indiana Big Brother of the Year. Michael has been matched with Little Brother Anthony since August 2012. Little Brother Anthony; his mother, Lorena; and Nikki Jo McCrady, the Mentoring Relationship Specialist, share a little bit about why Michael is more than deserving of the State of Indiana Big Brother of the Year honor.
Little Brother Anthony: “My Big Brother Michael has changed my life for the better. He has been there for me and pushed me to work hard in life and on my goals. I have changed for the better because of Michael. My life would have lacked a lot of happiness if I wasn’t matched with Mike. I never had a male role model in my life until I became a part of this program. Mike taught me to be confident in myself in everything I do, whether it was sports, theatre, or in social situations. He put a lot of effort into finding the best high school for me and he was successful. My high school experience has been great, and I am so happy Mike helped my mom pick out the right school for me. I was scared to get out of my shell, but Mike helped me break through that. Without Mike, I wouldn’t have become the person I am today and because of my Big Brother, I’m proud of who I am.”
Anthony’s mother, Lorena: “Mike encouraged my son to have an open mind in trying different things. Before, Anthony would focus on what he didn’t like to do. But Mike helped him dedicate all his energy and passion into everything he does like. He taught him to work hard for his goals, fight for his ideals, ask for help when needed, and to be a gentleman at all times.
My son is becoming the image and likeness of Mike because he’s been surrounded by an amazing person that cares for him. This is the result of all these years of being together as Big and Little. Anthony’s future is bright and I know he’ll go to college and do what makes him happy. I also believe that one day, he will be a Big Brother and will give back the same devotion that he received through Mike. Someday, we’ll have 2 generations of Big Brothers (Mike and Anthony) spending time with a new Little Brother.”
Nikki Jo McCrady, Mentoring Relationship Specialist: “Michael was committed to learning more about his Little Brother by focusing on his interests, strengths, and goals. He recognized Anthony was capable of achieving everything he wanted to and remained committed to helping him in whatever ways he could. Michael has been with him every step of the way – from his acceptance into high school to acceptances to several four-year colleges and universities. Through it all Michael has been a consistent, patient, and encouraging influence in his Little’s life.”